In the end, they did it. After 38 games and a...
Coventry match preview + Theo’s conundrum
With a nearly identical starting line-up every game since the start of the season, it’ll be interesting to see how we turn out against Coventry especially in midfield. It’s more than likely the play style will stay the same, but without the fluidity we’ve been seeing due to the likely omissions of Cazorla and Podolski from the squad – the pair are pretty much telepathic when working the ball down the left hand side.
With Eastmond out on loan to Colchester and Rosický battling for fitness, the midfielders in the squad are likely to be as follows: Coquelin, Ramsey, Arshavin, Eisfeld, Frimpong, Yennaris and Gnarby. The latter being one of our most exciting prospects, in fact, Wenger had this to say: “If he continues his development, I think he could play in the first team this season”
Will tomorrow be Serge Gnarby’s first chance?
As much as I’d like to see Wilshere pull on an Arsenal shirt for the first time since August 2011, the chances of him being involved are slim. He still needs “practice games,” although it’s become apparent that he is now training with the ball.
Defensively we’ve been sound. We’ve only conceded three goals this season, two of which were away from home, against defending league champions Montpellier (Ligue 1) and Manchester City (Barclays PL). It’s clear that Steve Bould’s appointment as assistant manager is already paying off. Hopefully similar rearguard action will be on display against Coventry. With a back four that is likely to include the clumsy Johan Djourou and the sub-par Sebstian Squillaci, our cup-tie will show us if Bould’s work has proved effective on our less competent defenders.
In attack, we could be seeing a few more long-balls being played if Giroud or Chamakh start the game, but both players are more than capable of playing the ball on the floor, Chamakh over Giroud in this case (overall Giroud is by far the better player). Giroud needs ninety minutes under his belt and this is the perfect opportunity, and as far as I’m concerned, Chamakh’s time at the club is up so playing him would be a waste of time.
The past two games have seen us start without a lone striker, instead we’ve deployed Gervinho as a deep-lying forward, which, against City, opened up channels to bring Cazorla, Diaby and Ramsey into the game more – almost like a 4-6-0 and not a 4-3-3.
As for our opponents, they aren’t much of a threat and I believe we’ll see them off, but knowing us we’ll make a meal out of it…
David McGoldrick is currently Coventry’s leading league goalscorer with two goals from five appearances in League One this season. The team have only scored seven in the league this season and they’re still searching for the first win of the campaign. So far they’ve played 8, lost 5, drawn 3. In the last round of the Capital One Cup they just about saw off Birmingham to make it through to the third round, it took a 97TH minute winner to topple the Blues.
From what Wenger’s been saying about his ambitions in this tournament, it seems as if we’ll field a strong(ish) side against a very unsteady Coventry eleven. The boys should see it out within ninety minutes, but avoiding complacency is key, these smaller teams are always fired up when playing the big guns.
AND NOW FOR A SNIPPET ON THEO…
It seems we have another money-hungry player who says he isn’t motivated by money. In the summer, Walcott had offers to leave the club but stayed because he wanted to “become on Arsenal legend” – yet he hasn’t signed a new contract, what’s with the delay? If it’s not about money, then it’s about his role in the team.
Time to dissect a quote:
“I signed as a striker. I’ve learnt my trade out on the wing. Hopefully, I’ll get to play up front in the next few games. It’s frustrating being on the bench, but it’s one of those things I have to deal with.”
Theo Walcott was 16 when he was signed, he was an “attacker” and his training most likely covered playing out wide, up front, and possibly the ’10’ role. Secondly, Wenger is a very smart man and can clearly see – as can everyone else – that he hasn’t learned his trade out on the wing. If he wants to play up front he can keep on dreaming. We’ve signed Ligue 1’s top scorer who is yet to break his duck but we’re still scoring goals, so why would we need/want to play Walcott down the middle as a striker? As for being unhappy on the bench, has he not come to the realisation that he is most effective as an impact player? Has he not noticed his pace is his most valuable asset? Hodgson had the right idea in the Euros, bringing him on against Sweden in the second half to turn the game on its head.
Theo is quite popular amongst Gooners so his departure may leave a few people scratching their heads. But if he doesn’t step up his game and prove his worth then he needs to leave in January. We’ll be lucky to get £15M for him.